Herne Bay boss Ben Smith hails the return of defender Daniel Johnson
HERNE BAY manager Ben Smith has unveiled the re-signing of versatile defender Daniel Johnson.
The 24-year-old has dropped a level, having left Isthmian League Premier Division side Margate to return to Isthmian League South East Division side Herne Bay.
Johnson is a centre-half who is also comfortable playing as a full-back.
Starting his career at Maidstone United, he then played for Herne Bay on 99 occasions before signing for National League side Bromley during the 2017-18 campaign and also received his call up to the England C national team while playing under Neil Smith.
He left Hayes Lane to sign for Dartford to play under Tony Burman before moving on to play for Jay Saunders again, this time at Margate.
“When I was contacted by the management team and was shown the project they are building, their plans for the future and the squad of players already here, I was excited at the possibly of signing,” Johnson told Herne Bay’s website.
“The club has really progressed from when I was last here, which is great to see, so to get everything sorted is really pleasing and I’m excited to get started, meet the players and get going with what I hope will be a very successful season for the club.”
Smith guided Herne Bay to fifth-place in the Isthmian League South East Division table and were on course of finishing in the play-offs for the first time but their hopes were controversially dashed by The Football Association who declared the campaign null and void due to the coronavirus health pandemic.
Smith has made Johnson his second summer signing and is delighted to bring him back to the club.
“It’s fantastic for us to be able to bring a player of DJ’s quality to the club,” said Smith.
“Having already amassed 99 appearances in his first stint here, he is regarded by many Bay supporters as one of the best defenders to represent the club.
“At only 24, he has a great level of experience in the National League and with England C.
“We are getting a highly-sought after player that can really add to the quality of our side and someone that is hungry for success.
“We are delighted that DJ can see what we are trying to do at the club and how far we have already come in the last year.
“He adds real balance to our side and we feel that he will compliment our group really well.”
Meanwhile, Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division side Chatham Town have also pulled off a summer transfer coup by enticing former Dartford winger Ryan Hayes, 34, to the club.
The left-footed, right-winger, will cut in from the flank and deliver the ammunition for summer signings, strikers Andy Pugh, 31, and Dan Bradshaw, who have arrived from National League South side Dartford and league rivals Sheppey United respectively.
Visit Herne Bay’s website: www.hernebayfootballclub.co.uk